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$1.5 Million Verdict in NYC Jail Medical Malpractice Death

A jury awarded $1.5 million on January 23, 2004 for the wrongful death of a 37 year-old mother of six who died on September 30, 1998 in a New York City (NYC) jail holding cell from improper medications given her. Liability was split 60% percent against Long Island College Hospital and 40% against the City of New York.

Yvette Mann Kessler was arrested at 4 p.m. on September 28, 1998 for drug possession and incarcerated at the NYC 75th Precinct Brooklyn jail. Although police ultimately decided not to prosecute her, they held her overnight for an outstanding bench warrant in nearby Queens. At 2 a.m., she was transported to Long Island College Hospital, where she was examined by Dr. Anupama Nehra, who diagnosed a condition of low pulse and mild opiate withdrawal effects. Dr. Nehra gave Kessler prescriptions for Clonidine, Compazine and Donnatal, and discharged her. Kessler was returned to the jail at 5:30 a.m. Two hours later, she was found dead, face down, in her cell.

Brigita Mann, representing her daughter's estate, sued Long Island College Hospital, the city of New York, the New York City Department of Corrections, and several unnamed police and jail officers. Marin claimed Kessler died because of inadequate prisoner monitoring. In addition, Mann alleged inappropriate medication when it was determined that there were only traces of narcotics in Kessler's system at the time of her death and no evidence of chronic drug use. The defendants contended she died of acute and chronic substance abuse.

After a two week trial and two days of deliberations, the jury was unanimous for Marin. Marin had settled with Long Island College Hospital and Dr. Nehra for $425,000 before opening statements in the trial. The jury specified age-proportioned dependency awards of $65,000 for Kessler's 24 year-old daughter; $128,000 for her 20 year-old son; $214,000 for her 16 year-old daughter; $300,000 for her 12 year-old son; $343,000 for her 10 year-old daughter and $450,000 for her 5 year-old daughter. Plaintiffs were represented by Ira M. Newman of Sanocki, Newman & Turret. See: Marin v. New York City Police Department Officers, et al., Kings Supreme Court Case No. 27253/99.

Source: VerdictSearch

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Related legal case

Marin v. New York City Police Department Officers